A WHOLE NEW ME

I had reached my mid-fifties with an established career and happily married – everything was perfect. I had a job, a home, a life I had built with my partner.

Or so I thought…….

road-asphalt-space-sky-56832

My world collapsed when suddenly my marriage ended. I never saw it coming. I had never expected it to happen to me so I had no plan ‘B’. In my mind and heart I had married for life, because ‘death do us part’, right? For me there were only two options: first wallow in self – pity or second, do something about it. Hesitantly, I chose option two.

My greatest adventure was deciding to ‘re -invent’ myself by going back to studying, I had a diploma in social work already. I was head of department in the organisation I was employed facing tough competition from young people who were more qualified that I was despite my experience. As I considered what what was going to be helpful to me I decided to pursue further studies in Theology – something I had always wanted to do. I had met very dynamic women theologians who had inspired me immensely.

So I went..

The_Aspire_Building

Going back to studying at mid-fifties when ways of learning  had changed a lot – everything done differently and no one was going to slow down for me. Computers were coming in at the time I was completing my education so all I knew as far as computers were concerned was to send and receive e-mails.

Deciding to further my education in the United Kingdom had added challenges, everything is done done technologically. My first challenge  was having to do everything on the computer from issuing myself books in the library, to submitting assignments, and everything in between. Having to navigate my way round “search engines” was a nightmare for some one who had never done that before.

Then there was the whole new learning culture, as books are hard to come by in Zimbabwe – where I did most of my education. I was used to be have two or three key textbooks, max. It was not easy for me to have to read a minimum of six books for each of my courses.

In the Zimbabwe the learning culture is still about “the all – knowing” who did the teaching and the student accepts what the teacher taught, said or his/her general thought. When I was with having to ‘critique’ what I was learning rather than nodding along and taking everything word – for – word was  massive.

books-bookstore-book-reading-159711

My going back to study opened a whole new world! While this had been an adventure, with a lot of challenges, it was worthwhile because it re-kindled a dream I held in my heart;  being a writer. Writing assignments got me back to continuously. I did not only come out with a B.A. (HONS) in Contextual Theology, but with an MA. as well.. My adventure paid off!

What seemed like a catastrophe turned out to be a stepping stone for something great, had my marriage not ended I would not have been in the place I am now. Blessing in disguise?

After completing my studies, I then decided to to establish two blogs which are helping me to improve my writing skills giving me the confidence to “hopefully” write my own book one day.

In this adventure I learnt the following lessons along the way:

  1. It is possible to re -invent yourself after you have reached the end of another career.
  2. A broken relationship can be a springboard of something new and exciting.
  3. Never allow yourself to wallow in self – pity, pick up the broken pieces of whatever is left of your life and start all over again.
  4. Do not be afraid to take risks, you can never know what you are capable of until you take a risk.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

A come back

I regret that I have not been posting for nearly two years now on this blog. It seemed  I ran out of ideas. Now it looks like now I seem to have decided on the direction I want to go with this blog. I want to apologies to those who had started to follow this blog especially Kalyani Kantilal I hope you are still around. Thank you for having stopped by and for the comment you left then. Hoping Y you will still be able to stop by again.

Watch the space.

Letting go

In my last post on this blog I talked about replacing what was lost when a relationship has ended as part of the healing process. What makes divorce the most difficult of all the losses is that the partner still lives. In death you are forced to accept that you can not bring him/her back the end is final you no longer depend on their love and support. The reality of death make you surrender and you are able to  grieve fully for the loss.

I have seen people who after a divorce  fall into trap of expecting the ex -partner to continue giving them support. In order for the healing process to begin the first thing is to let go of needing the emotional support from the ex-partner. When the relationship has ended it does take time to adjust expectations from marriage partner to ex -partner  part of us is still expecting something in return. The only solution like I have said above is to let go of that need of support from an ex.

Like I mentioned above in divorce the partner is still alive dealing with them can make it hard to cut them off completely from one’s life. There was a time when I resented the fact that my ex was treating me badly and I got jealous that my ex -husband was getting love and support from someone else. The solution for me was to let go my dependence on him. While I desperately needed answers from him I made sure that I did not allow him to continue hurting me I decided and believed I was not a victim.

I consistently cultivated and maintained a healing attitude by simply avoiding about my feelings but in my own way sought to find a deeper understanding and acceptance of what had happened to me. I explored my past feelings by enriching them with the intent to find forgiveness for my ex and having faith that I will be able to trust again.

Replacing what was lost

Any relationship breakdown is a loss of many things. A marriage breakdown means first a loss of someone you shared the most personal life issues with.   A companion to do things with e.g. going out for meals, it is always nice to be with some one. Holidays are most enjoyable when you go with another person to just mention a few things that are lost when a relationship comes to an end.

The first thing I  did when my marriage ended was to work out ways of replacing what I had lost. In one of the post I mentioned going back to college, once I had completed my studies I then decided to blog which does gives me something I am always looking forward to doing everyday. Alongside my blogging is walking and I as I walk I carry my smartphone for taking photographs. I now realise that I have developed a skill of noticing things which before I never used to do. The world around us has so many beautiful and telling things  to perceive when we look intently which has come because I  am on my own most of the time.

Having attended a training programme on leading quiet days I  am now thinking and planning different quiet days. I  have managed to lead one  succesful  quiet day for people who wanted to declutter their minds before the beginning of the advent  season and be ready for christmas.

I feel it is important  for those whose marriages have ended to acknowledge and accept what hast been lost and work out ways of replacing all that lost as a result of a broken relationship. Replacing those things lost is one step of moving on with life.

Forgiveness

In my last post which I posted way back in January this year I shared about my achievement since my marriage ended. How was that possible this is what this post is about

FORGIVENESS
I have always struggled with forgiving people who hurt me I tend to hold on to the hurt despite the fact that I am a very religious person. If the hurt involves close family members I will cut communication lines until I have worked through the hurt on my own terms. I do in the end resolve issues because family means a lot to me. If the hurt involves friends and colleagues I just stop having anything to do with those who have hurt me.That is how I dealt with hurts.

The end of my marriage has been a blessing in a way as it has helped me to deal seriously about the unforgiving heart of mine. It has taken a marriage break up for me to even begin to understand what the line in the Lord’s prayer which I say daily
‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ I realised that the more I held to the hurts I was hurting myself by nursing grudges and I was robbing myself of enjoying God’s forginess of me, as I would be thinking that God had not forgiven me.

As you may have noted on some of the previous posts I was very angry with my exhusband and very frustrated that he never allowed me to sit down and talk so that he would know what this break meant to me as a person. As I mentioned I worked through all the things that had hurt me in my marriage and was able to forgive my exhusband. I was able to write and let him know that I had forgiven him for the betrayal and for cheating on me. Once I had done that I felt a heavy weight lifted from my shoulders, and was able to rebuild my life in the ways I shared in my previous posts.

I have just come back from a training programme which was equipping me with skills of leading a quiet day at Woodbrooke Quaker Study centre and this is me during coffee break 20150709_163750

This is one other step towards what I was longing for after my whole world had seemingly curved in doing things I always wanted to do with my life. I am now daring to go, with all my experiences in life I feel I have a lot to offer and make a difference in other people’s lives who may be struggling with broken relationships.

Achievement

In my last post I talked about how I had reinvented my self by gong back to college

Graduation!

Graduation!

This photograph shows my achievement after my marriage had ended this photograph is a testimony that there is nothing which is beyond reach. I worked hard to enhance my confidence which had been undermined by the break up I am now back to my normal self again confidence regained and have become the most capable person I was before getting married what I have achieved is beyond my wildest dreams.

I now believe in myself again  this achievement means I  am now able to plan to do to what was the love of my life, organizing and conducting training workshops and conferences. Since I am no longer doing this as my day job I plan to use those skills  to focus on organizing and leading retreats as a free lance professional. The other thing that has emerged as a result of getting my confidence  back is to take on speaking engagements presenting paers on subjects I am passionate about. Three years ago I was invited to be a personal tutor at Luther King House Open College this has given me an opportunity to discover other options I can pursue.

The major responsibility I had in my previous job was being the head of the training department of The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, now a new area of pecialisation has emerged as a result of the new training which I have under gone. My current employment as a pastoral worker  in Sale circuit of the British Methodist church enables me to walk alongside people in their faith journeys a very humbling experience I am privileged to have. I now can see these other possibilities of offering  myself  to the service of others  without the  constraints of marriage.

Now and then I do have a nagging feeling of wishing I had someone special to share my life with,  however this is no longer an issue as I find fulfillment in the various things  I am involved in. To be honest the end of my marriage has now freed me to do things I had never thought I  would do. A reason which motivated me to write this blog to share how bad experiences can lead to something special.

Picking up the Pieces

In my last blog I shared how the break had left me questioning if my marriage was all a lie because of what happened, the more I have reflected on how we were to each other the more I am convinced that it was a genuine relationship at the time. We loved each other very much like I said before we were best of friends and made each other laugh a lot. While it lasted we enjoyed each other’s company which made me come to agree with one of step children who said what had happened was ‘midlife crisis’ which had gone too far as far as my husband was concerned.
Having accepted that there was nothing I could do to salvage my marriage, I began to think about my next move towards rebuilding what was already destroyed as far as my life was concerned. First I looked at all the options which were opened to me, weighing them all up in terms of what would be worth pursuing. What complicated matters was that I was already in mid fifties which meant I was supposed to have started making plans of retiring. I was determine to rebuild my life I did not dwell too much on my age instead I carried on working out a strategy of how I was going to rebuild my life. Instead I concentrated on what I would offer to the job market with my experience.

Although I was not working I had registered with a South African distance learning to pursue a theological degree so that was the first option, secondly I had always wanted to write and had already started as I had designed training manuals which are still in use in my previous employment so that was another strong possibility so I had things I would start immediately. However there were things which needed to be done in relation to my marriage, I had to engage a lawyer to understand what was involved as far as divorcing was concerned. I was very clear in my head that I was not going to file for divorce but I was going to respond if and when my husband did file for divorce since he was the one who had started this process I wanted him to complete the process however long it was going to take, the ball was in his court.

I then looked up on the internet for where else I would go to pursue my theological studies, I found a college in England which offered what I wanted; a theological degree for those who are not intending to be clergy. I applied and to my surprise got a very favorable response this was around May time, after some negotiations the college and I agreed that I would be interviewed via the telephone. I got a place to begin my studies in the September of that same year. I then started the process of getting a student visa.
The whole exercise of deciding to going back to studying was a very liberating experience, as I did not sit and feel sorry for myself but actively worked a way out of my predicament. It felt like I had suddenly been given a new lease of life I felt very upbeat about knowing I was in control of my own destiny from now on. Nothing was going to hold me back from becoming who I wanted to be given the circumstances I found myself. I found encouragement in what Richard L.Evans said, ‘Don’t let life discourage you: everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was’ I told myself I was not going to allow what had happened to me discourage me rather I was going to use it to my advantage and make my circumstances the springboard of a new and exciting life which has already begun.
IMG00760-20140520-1257 Luther King House is a Partnership For Theological Education, an Affiliate of Manchester University. This is where I was offered a place to pursue my further studies in Theology. and this is where the adventure started and is here where the healing process began as I threw myself in my studies.